After Tuesday’s preem of “Bowfinger” at the Universal Amphitheater, director Frank Oz stood in the lobby and mentioned how hard it was to arrive at a one-sentence description of his film. The comedy centers on a wannabe film producer-director. The best Oz could come up with was: “It’s about people having a dream and the only thing holding them back is their own incompetence.”
Though that line could aptly describe much of the film industry, star-screenwriter Steve Martin, who said he wanted the movie to “be funny above all,” defended the business he parodies.
“Hollywood is a fantastically warm, complicated and dark place, but it’s not an evil place,” Martin said. “And every kind of person is in Hollywood. You’re on a movie set and there’s multimillionaires and Sno-cone salesmen and everyone is working together.”
Martin’s take on the business was enough to attract Eddie Murphy who said, “What interested me was that the script was both smart and silly, but never gets stupid. I’d never seen a piece that was still silly and fun, but really cleverly done.”
Among those on hand to see the film were Universal execs Stacey Snider, Brian Mulligan, Kevin Misher and Mary Parent, co-star Heather Graham and 2,500 guests including Jeffrey Katzenberg, Joe Roth, James Brooks, Neil Simon, Tom Shadyac, Jeff Pollack, Priscilla Presley, Lawrence Bender, Joel Silver, Jim Wiatt, Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, who was nursing a broken finger tendon he’d injured practicing the Israeli Krav Maga martial art.
“You need it for Hollywood,” Grazer said. The Krav Maga, not the tendon.